Andrew Shenton is a scholar, prize-winning author, performer and educator based in Boston, Massachusetts. Born in England, his first professional music training was at The Royal College of Music in London, where he studied under a scholarship from The Royal College of Organists. While at the RCM he read for a B.Mus. degree at London University and was an organ scholar at St. Paul’s Cathedral. He moved to the US to study for a Master’s degree at the Institute for Sacred Music, Worship and the Arts at Yale University and then for a Ph.D. in musicology at Harvard University.
Dr. Shenton has a Master’s degree in organ performance from Yale, and holds the Fellowship diploma of the Royal College of Organists. He has given recitals in such venues as King’s College, Cambridge; Westminster Abbey; St. Paul’s Cathedral, London; St. Thomas Church Fifth Avenue; and Washington National Cathedral. He has toured extensively in Europe and the US as a conductor, recitalist and clinician, and his two solo organ recordings have received international acclaim. Shenton maintains an active performance career because he believes it is important that any scholarly engagement with the arts is not divorced from its creation and performance.
In addition to diplomas in both piano and organ Dr. Shenton holds the Choir Training diploma of the Royal College of Organists. He has pioneered contemporary music in a variety of styles and has given more than fifty world or US premieres by composers such as Geoffrey Burgon, Joe Utterback, John Tavener, Judith Weir and Stephen Feigenbaum. He has been the recipient of numerous scholarships and awards including a Harvard Merit Fellowship, Harvard’s Certificate of Distinction in Teaching and a Junior Fellowship from the Center for the Humanities at Boston University.
Moving freely between musicology and ethnomusicology, Shenton’s work is best subsumed under the heading ‘music and transcendence.’ This is demonstrated, for example, by his recent and ongoing work in popular music, which includes an essay that analyses the acoustic ecology of rave music as a way of negotiating an ecstatic experience (Fordham University Press, 2013), and lectures and writing on how hip-hop has become a complex soundscape that signals religious identity, notably for Christians and Muslims. A subsidiary to this work is his interest in how sound studies deal with issues of cognition, and the physical and mental elements of transformation and transcendence. His pioneering work on Olivier Messiaen includes a monograph Olivier Messiaen’s System of Signs (Ashgate, 2008), which won the 2010 Miller Book Award; and a collection of essays which he edited entitled Messiaen the Theologian (Ashgate, 2010). More recently his work on Arvo Pärt includes several lectures and recitals, and publications such as The Cambridge Companion to Arvo Pärt (CUP, 2012) which he edited.
Dr. Shenton is Artistic Director of the Boston Choral Ensemble and Director of Music at St. Peter’s Episcopal Church in Weston, MA. At Boston University, Dr. Shenton holds appointments in the School of Theology, School of Music (College of Fine Arts) and College of Arts and Sciences (musicology faculty). He is an Associate Professor of Music, the James R. Houghton Scholar of Sacred Music, Director of the Master of Sacred Music program and Director of the Boston University Messiaen Project [BUMP].